Thandeka Moyo-Ndlovu, Senior Reporter
THE Seventh-Day Adventist Church has come to the rescue of the Rufura community in Mberengwa by constructing classrooms for a school which has been in the pipeline for the past 62 years.
Rufura Primary School, in Chief Mataruse’s area, was pegged in 1959 when authorities allocated land to help increase the number of schools for their growing district.
Hundreds grew up with the hope of learning at the school but could not as several attempts to build even by villagers failed.
Learners were forced to walk over 10 kilometres daily to the nearest Chabwira Primary School, an institution which could not be accessed during the rainy season due to dilapidated bridges and bad roads.
Ms Emely Nyoni was born in 1930 and ever since had wished for a school in her community.
“In 1959 there were some White missionaries who came to this community and promised to build us a school and we witnessed the pegging ceremony. Promises kept coming until we all lost hope,” she said.
“I eventually got married and had children who also have their own now. My grandchildren have their own children now and none of them had the privilege of accessing lessons from the village. They walked many kilometres daily which was not good.”
Now 62 years later, the SDA church came to the community’s rescue.
It mobilised funds and the building project started on August 16 this year. The building project is expected to be complete on Friday.
Chronicle also caught up with an ecstatic Ms Safirana Shoko who said seeing the construction of the classroom blocks in less than two months was a miracle they never thought would happen in their lifetime.
She said the church had proven that with God nothing was impossible as they had witnessed numerous false starts towards constructing the school.
For her the ground-breaking ceremony held in August was a highlight for the villagers who had given up hope.
“I grew up looking forward to learning at the school as our parents were told that it would be constructed the very year when land was set aside. However, I was forced to walk long distances to school daily just like my children as the project never materialised during expected time frame,” said Ms Shoko.
“I am overjoyed because now our children will be able to go to school freely, especially during the rainy season. We are grateful to the church for extending their help, we have always longed for a school in our district.”
The chairperson of the building committee, Mr Takavada Makombe said villagers had been discouraged by empty promises in the past.
“At one point we worked and produced 90 000 bricks thinking this would help us to start constructing the school.
However, we failed and many people gave up on the idea and we had accepted that we will die without a nearby school until it was suggested that we approach the SDA church which has conducted their outreach programmes in our communities,” said Mr Makombe.
“They then agreed to help us with building material, labour and support to at least construct the first batch of classrooms for our children. They have agreed to continue with us in this project and we are hopeful that soon we will construct at least a cottage to help kick-start enrolment at our school which will bring relief to many families.”
He said the community remained hopeful that the classrooms will also push authorities to register the school and channel resources to construct other needed structures soon.
The SDA Zimbabwe West Union Conference director for family life Dr Sikhumbuzo Ndlovu said the church was happy to have partnered with locals and the Mberengwa Rural District Council to start the construction of the school.
He said plans were underway to ensure that the school gets material for more classrooms so that learners are able to access it soon.
“We have committed to build the first 2 classroom blocks for the community, thereby giving them a school of their own. This is line with our mission as a church as we know that we cannot only reach out by sharing the good news, we should address the needs of our fellow brothers and sisters, whom the Lord loves too.
“This block is scheduled to finish by Friday when the classroom keys will be handed to the community leadership on Sabbath 18 September. We are now working on the roof and we know that by Friday we will be done and then hand it over to the community,” said Dr Ndlovu.